Change is the one constant in our lives that we know is true. If we are fortunate enough to live a long life, we will be faced with many changes and transitions over our life course. Despite this truth, embracing change as we age can become increasingly challenging.
Researchers remind us that we are living in an era of longevity – a period in history which has created both opportunities and challenges that those of past generations did not fully experience. So, it’s True!! 50 really is the new 40, 60 is the new 50, and 70 is the new 60! However, this additional gift of time may also mean that we need to rethink our aging relative to careers, relationships, finances, and education (L. Gratton & A. Scott – “The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in the Age of Longevity”).
We also may need to rethink what brings us joy, satisfaction and motivation in our later life chapters. Those things that created meaning and purpose in our earlier life chapters are no longer relevant…children are raised, careers have peaked, friends have moved. The social, professional and relational constructs that worked for us in the past, may no longer feel like the best fit anymore. We have officially crossed into the season of middlescense. A stage full of paradoxes – ending and beginning, fear and excitement, pulling back and taking risks, loss and gain.
Much like adolescence, the season of mid-late life can create a similar state of confusion and uncertainty. It’s during both of these life stages that we may experience feelings of being lost, stuck, less confident, restless and undefined. These periods often create a sense of aimlessly floundering through the wilderness with no clear direction or clarity on which path to pursue next.
Reimagining our lives and the possibilities of “What’s Next” can help us better embrace our later life stages and age more successfully and with a greater level of satisfaction. Letting go of our ‘old story‘ helps us incorporate a remarkable new mindset and embrace a ‘new story‘ for our next life stage (R. Leider – “The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better”).
A more meaningful and purposeful “second half” is very much achievable through the exploration of strengths, core values, passions and interests. It’s an ideal time to re-examine priorities, goals, bucket list, and even legacy.
Tomorrow will be a new chapter in your life story…make it a meaningful one!
Kerry Thomas Founder, AgeSmart Strategies Gerontologist, Aging Strategist & Coach https://agesmartstrategies.com/